The European Food Safety Authority, the EU's food agency, opened a public consultation Tuesday on its pilot assessments of the risks posed to humans by residues of multiple pesticides in food.
The agency, based in Parma, Italy, says interested parties have until 15 November to submit comments on two assessments: one considers chronic effects on the thyroid system and the other looks at acute effects on the nervous system.
The draft assessments are the culmination of a multi-year collaboration between EFSA and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment for the Netherlands (RIVM).
The overall draft conclusion for both assessments is that consumer risk from dietary cumulative exposure is below the threshold that triggers regulatory action for all the population groups covered.
To assist stakeholders who wish to contribute to the consultation, EFSA is holding a special meeting in Brussels at which EFSA scientists and external experts will present and discuss the main elements and findings of the pilot assessments. Registration for the event is now open.
The substances considered in the assessments were identified by EFSA's pesticide experts using a methodology specially devised for classifying pesticides into "cumulative assessment groups" (CAGs). The methodology rests on the assumption that pesticides causing the same specific effects can produce cumulative toxicity.
The EU regulation on maximum levels of pesticides in food (MRLs) stipulates that decisions on MRLs should take into account cumulative effects of pesticides as and when the methods to assess such effects become available. In addition, the regulation covering the placing of pesticides on the market stipulates that pesticides should have no harmful effects – including cumulative effects – on humans.